Prized Possessions on display

Prized Possessions on display

Dutch seventeenth-century paintings by some of the finest masters of the ‘Golden Age’ from National Trust collections around the country are now on display together for the first time, at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Prized Possessions will celebrate the enduring British taste for collecting Dutch paintings and explore how and why this style of art was desired, commissioned and displayed.

The exhibition includes works by celebrated artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Lely, Gabriel Metsu, and Cornelis de Heem and consists of 22 works chosen from National Trust houses including Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire; Ham House in Richmond; and Upton House in Warwickshire.

David Taylor, Curator of Pictures and Sculpture at the National Trust explains:

“The Dutch gained independence from Spain in 1648 and in a relatively short period of time there was a new confidence and prosperity that saw a burgeoning middle class with money and an interest in commissioning and displaying art.

“The artists who were flourishing at this time mastered various painting genres, from portraits, still lives and landscapes, to religious, maritime, and subject pictures, and the quality of their work attracted patrons and collectors from across Europe. Examples of all those types of Dutch pictures will be showcased in the exhibition.”

St Catherine's Church, Utrecht by Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), at Upton House [UPT.P.128]. Photographed post-restoration.

St Catherine’s Church, Utrecht by Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), at Upton House [UPT.P.128]. Photographed post-restoration.

Highlights of the exhibition, which is curated by Rupert Goulding and David Taylor of the National Trust, include: Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self-Portrait, ‘Wearing a Feathered Bonnet’; Jan Lievens’ ‘A Magus at a Table’; Gabriel Metsu’s ‘The Duet’ and Pieter Jansz. Saenredam’s ‘The Interior of the Church of St Catherine, Utrecht’.

Amina Wright, Senior Curator at the Holburne, notes:

“We are delighted to be working with the National Trust on this exciting exhibition of some of the finest Dutch paintings from country houses. The display in the museum’s purpose-built exhibition gallery will allow the paintings to be seen at their very best and in a new and inspiring context.

“Sir William Holburne’s eclectic collection of Dutch paintings is one of the jewels of the Museum founded in his name, and he would have been proud to see such an outstanding group of works alongside his own.”

David Taylor continues:

“Works from our collections are loaned to exhibitions across the world, but this is the first time in over twenty years that paintings from around the country have left their homes to appear together in a dedicated National Trust exhibition.

“We are thrilled that the Holburne Museum will be hosting this exhibition and we hope that the works we have chosen will delight not only enthusiasts of Dutch art but anyone who is discovering the joy of ‘Golden Age’ paintings for the first time.”

The exhibition will run at The Holburne Museum until 16th September. For further information and opening times visit

Prized Possessions will move to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October, 2018, and then to Petworth House in West Sussex in January, 2019.